One of the conversations on the sidelines of a recent interaction with college students in Chennai was about reporting, and how to filter out the noise and focus on the facts when reading a news story. You can demonstrate the point with almost any story from the mainstream press; here is a benign instance relating to the just completed Nanded municipal elections:
In a significant morale-booster ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Congress Thursday swept the municipal polls in Maharashtra’s Nanded, defeating the ruling BJP in a keenly contested battle. While the Congress has been in power in the civic body for nearly two decades now, and Nanded had remained loyal to the Congress even during the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly polls, the shot in the arm for the party came from the magnitude of Thursday’s win.
The big news, while I was traveling in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, is a Rohini Singh story in The Wire on the strange business dealings of Jay Shah, son of BJP president Amit Shah.
Shah Junior in his response called the article “false, derogatory and defamatory“; his lawyer had earlier responded to the website saying, essentially, that there was no wrongdoing. Shah has since filed a Rs 100 crore defamation case against the reporter and editors of the site — whenever the case is heard, I want a ringside seat.
Politicians on the stump are a source of endless joy. Here, Amit Shah in Assam:
“We all know that Assam is the land of the brave. It is the land where Sukapha (Ahom king) had defeated the Mughals 17 times and drove them away. The same land is now being allowed to become the abode of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators by the Congress government.
It’s a nice story. But, as I was pointing out on my Facebook page last night, some inconvenient facts get in the way of it. Sukhapaa, founder of the Ahom kingdom, died in 1268. Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodi and established the Mughal dynasty in 1526. Quite a feat, then, for the Ahom king to have defeated unnamed Mughals three centuries after his death.
PS: A meeting over lunch (which hopefully will be long, and liquid) and *the* game this evening, so am off blog for the duration. Have a happy Sunday, folks.
In recent times, even media outlets openly proclaiming allegiance to the right have been saying that the serial controversies are beginning to hurt the Modi government. Which should remind us of this: